In our theological education, we learned the phrase “already, not yet” to describe the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is “here,” it’s “at hand,” it is “among us.” But there is also the sense where the kingdom of God will be fully realized or culminated at some point in the future. It’s already here, but not yet fully here.
That’s sorta where we are in the adoption process with Sarah, legally. She is already here, already ours. But she’s not yet fully ours (i.e., the adoption is not yet final). A year and a half ago, we wrote what the rest of the process would look like after we brought Ethan home. It’s pretty much the same: three post-placement visits within six months, then go to court where the adoption will be finalized.
In the meantime, we’re already calling Sarah, “Sarah,” even though that doesn’t become her legal name until the adoption is finalized several months from now. And, legally, Americans for International Aid and Adoption, the adoption agency, would make any medical-related decisions (although we can make decisions in emergencies, but would need to contact AIAA as soon as possible).
It’s an interesting state to be in. Sarah’s already here, she’s ours, but there is more to the legal process to make her fully ours.